054: Nehemiah Frank and the Black Wall Street Times
Nehemiah Frank left Tulsa as a child, became an elite gymnast, struggled to graduate from high school, blossomed in college, and returned to Tulsa as a young man to become a new voice for equity in education and social justice reform.
Nehemiah established a blog in February 2017 to express his observations about educational inequality and social justice reform. Little did he know that The Black Wall Street Times would get national and international attention and put him center stage in his efforts to educate the public about these important issues.
In this episode of The Spirit of Leading Podcast, I talk to Nehemiah about his journey, how it has helped him to evolve as a public advocate, and the impact he hopes to have in improving education for all citizens, and especially the under privileged.
My thanks to Joel Wade and Blue House Media for hosting the recording of The Spirit of Leading podcast. Blue House Media is a video, audio, and web development media company and recording studio. www.bluehousemedia.tv
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Ken Parker, CEO of NextThought, will tell you the mission of his company is to, “Change the world. Have fun. Make money.”
On this episode of The Spirit of Leading I talk with Ken about his transformational journey in educational software design. Ken laments that each wave of technological advancement has promised to reinvent how we educate, yet we’ve only seen those promises, “dashed on the rocks of reality.”
Ken believes he has identified the missing ingredient, and it’s implicit within the premise of the world wide web and available to us through the technology of the internet.
Furthermore, Ken discusses what he learned about running a company from his experience in aerospace engineering and on Wall Street.
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Ken Parker works at his standup desk at NextThought
The University of Oklahoma uses NextThought software to make many of its classes available online through Janux. See here. Go to the OU Janux home page.
Learn more about NextThought.
Watch Ken’s TEDxOU presentation.
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Stephanie Cameron, OK2Grow Executive Director
When Stephanie Cameron moved to Tulsa in 2008 to work at a non-profit, she did not expect to become the highly visible leader of a foundation seeking to improve the science, technology, engineering, and math education in Oklahoma.
Stephanie was hired as the community affairs director at APSCO by its founder, the late Larry Mocha, and came under his tutelage. She found herself integrally involved in the OK2Grow Foundation and is program, Dream It Do It.
In this episode of The Spirit of Leading, I ask Stephanie to share some of the leadership lessons she has learned while at the helm of that project. Stephanie offers her views on what leaders can do to promote a more well educated workforce that would measurably improve small business development throughout Oklahoma.
Just as Larry Mocha mentored her, Stephanie is returning the favor by mentoring a high school senior, Sarah Plaster. Sarah also offers her take on the opportunities of young women in business and the value of being mentored.
Stephanie also speaks to the value of getting actual work experience as a teenager, working through her mother’s temp service business.
Stephanie is a member of Leadership Oklahoma Class XXIX. She received a 2015 STEP Ahead award from Women in Manufacturing. Stephanie is active in the Tulsa Young Professionals (TYPros), Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Tulsa Global Alliance.
Learn more about OK2Grow.
Learn more about Oklahoma STEM initiative
Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead award
Learn more about APSCO manufacturing, where Stephanie works
Tulsa Young Professionals (TYPros)
Leadership Oklahoma Class XXIX
The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance learn more
Big Brothers Big Sisters Of Oklahoma, Of Tulsa Green Country
Tulsa Technology Center student activities spotlight
Stephanie Cameron greets a class of students attending a summer camp for manufacturing at Tulsa Technology Center.
Meet the newest addition to my family–my fifth grandchild. She is one of 353,000 children born the same day around the world. Each and every one is as precious as she is.
According to UNICEF, about 353,000 new citizens of planet Earth show up each day. They had no choice.
But we have a choice about what kind of Earth they will live in.
That’s why we desperately need INPowering leaders who have a long term view of how to make this planet a wholesome and inviting home for everyone.
The United Nations was chartered in 1945 as an effort to resolve international problems through dialogue and collaboration instead of war. You can read the preamble to its charter on the United Nations’ website. I encourage you to do so.
I am hopeful every day that the generations being born now will re-create a better world from the one my generation is handing off to it.
But we don’t have to wait.
A new pledge for all world leaders
Wouldn’t it be great if we could require all world political and business leaders to pledge to uphold the spirit and letter of the UN charter?
- To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,
- To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small,
- To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
- To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.
Wouldn’t that be the kind of world we would be proud to leave our children and grandchildren?
A small percentage of rotten apples
All that keeps us from having this kind of a world are the selfish and egomaniacal ambitions and ideological delusions of a hand full of world political and business leaders. I don’t know if we will ever find a way around that, but I’m hopeful.
I don’t know how many such scallywags and trouble makers there are world-wide. But say there were enough to populate the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex (where I live), if we could get them all in one place. That would be about 7-million, or about 0.96% of the world’s population. I probably am not too far wrong to say that less than 1% of the world’s population causes 95% of the misery.
I’d like to think that somewhere in the 99% of the decent people on the globe we can find capable, INPowering leaders who can rise above selfish ambition and greed to help us reach our greatest and most noble good.
Maybe your children and grandchildren–and mine–will be
among those who will prove to be
I AM HOPEFUL
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Alexis Smith, PhD
Women are stepping up in greater numbers to take their place as leaders in the workplace. Increased educational opportunities and social changes over the past three decades have contributed to this transition. Yet, gender issues remain at the forefront of the national conversation about the role and influence of women in the workplace.
According to this week’s guest, Dr. Alexis Smith, an Assistant Professor in the Management Department at Oklahoma State University Spears School of Business, women are having an impact even on the expectations we have of how men lead.
Dr. Smith earned her PhD in management at Tulane University and her BA from Rice University. Her research interests include gender, status and influence, as well as diversity and bias at work. Dr. Smith is a member of the Academy of Management, the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychologists, and the Southern Management Association.
We learn to be a leader the same way we learn to live﹣by trial and error, through relationships, by paying attention and being present in our moment-to-moment experiences.
I invite you to discover an innovative genre of leadership development literature using the power of storytelling to make being INPowered2 LEAD come alive in your life.
Meet MARCUS WINN, a fictional Gen-Y supervisor who must navigate through a workplace transitioning between competing world views and expectations.
His experience unfolds through a series of episodes, each highlighting specific management and leadership issues integrated with his on-going personal life events — the way life happens.
As Marcus discovers, leading and managing is a lifestyle, not a job delineated by bullet-point duties. Life flows. Therefore, his narrative of growing into an INPowering way of living weaves leadership principles into the fabric of experience. Marcus’s lessons come from his environment — not from a menu of how-tos, but from a myriad of what-ifs brimming with possibilities.
The first two episodes are ready for you to enjoy and use for yourself. They also make a great gift for anyone looking to unleash the creative energy of personal INPowerment.
Read the first chapters free of Marcus Winn’s Moment of Truth and Marcus Winn’s Quest for Clarity available to download from the INPowered2 LEAD website welcome page.
When you purchase the soft-back from Amazon.com you can get a copy for your Kindle at a reduced price.
The third episode, Marcus Winn’s New Way to Lead, will be released early in 2014. More about that in a future post. Start your own workplace story of an INPowering life.
No doubt, you will be
We desperately need elegant leaders in every aspect of our lives: business, politics, education, health and wellness, financial, religious institutions of all faiths, the military – everywhere.
By elegant, I mean leaders who have a way of helping others reach their greatest good with the least effort, intrusion, and disruption.
In an earlier post I defined a leader as someone who takes us [helps us go] places we cannot or will not go by ourselves.
That being said, we’re still short-handed when it comes to “elegant” leaders. Here’s why.
Elegant leaders are NOT:
- Power hungry for control and command
- Ego driven at the expense of followers
- Attention deprived, self-aggrandizers (no matter how charismatic they appear)
- Willing pawns ready to do the bidding of hidden power brokers
- Self-deluded that they are acting for the greater good when their first thought at the moment of difficult decisions is for their own survival
- Leading from behind (an oxymoron on its face)
Unfortunately, many of those who put themselves out there as our leaders and tell us to follow them are NOT ELEGANT LEADERS. At their core, they might be fine individuals, but they misunderstand and misapply leadership.
Elegant leaders ARE:
- Solution oriented, with a clear vision and understanding of end results that are beneficial for the greater good
- Focused on what can be, instead of looking for scapegoats
- Eager for everyone’s success and growth
- Collaborative and inclusive
- Compassionate, empathetic, and forgiving
- Protective of their followers and self-sacrificing if necessary
- Trusting, hopeful, and persevering
Therefore, I describe an Elegant Leader as someone who:
- INLarges our expectations of living by helping us define our greatest aspirations and to pursue them;
- INLivens our heart with hope and possibilities that evoke joy and passion;
- INLightens our mind with information and insights we need to find our way, and who
- INCourages our spirit to persevere when obstacles seem insurmountable or when the way forward seems unclear. They trust in us, believe in us, and are close by to stabilize our footing when we slip or stumble.
At this very moment, you have what it takes to be an elegant leader, because leadership has nothing to do with age, gender, or race. It has everything to do with clarity, accountability, and relationships.
Take the test. Are you:
- Clear about the direction you are heading and the results you are out to accomplish? If you are not, stop and get this right. A way-maker also takes time to help others clarify their own destination, dreams, and goals.
- Accountable to yourself for the consequences of your own actions – no excuses. Get this right first before others will find you trustworthy. Be true to yourself.
- Committed to the relationships you develop on your journey. If you arrive at the destination alone, you have led no one, nowhere.
Elegant leaders appeal to us because their strength rises from within. They comfort us by their presence while they reassurance us of our own strength. They help us to believe in ourselves.
Become this elegant leader and you will be
We desperately need you to be an Elegant Leader.
I am often asked, as a consultant, “Why do so many employees wait around to be told what to do next instead of showing initiative?”
At the expense of oversimplifying the situation, I believe it’s because they learned it was safer to wait for permission instead of sticking their neck out.
We come into this world at the top of our lungs, motivated and INPowered. Somewhere along the way we learn speaking out, taking action, and showing initiative can be dangerous.
We are taught to keep quiet, stand in line, wait our turn, and don’t color outside the lines. Any deviation from the norm requires permission from authority. Those lessons play out in the work place to reward compliance over creativity, good enough over excellence, blending in over standing out, and playing it safe over taking a risk.
Do something different, take a chance, or propose something progressive, and there is a chorus of critics with 1001 reasons why it won’t work, and why doing nothing is better than whatever it was you proposed. Who ever heard of such nonsense, anyway?! Or there are authority figures who shoot you down, because keeping things the same old way also keeps them in power.
So, if you are waiting for permission to show your stuff, I’m giving it to you now. Go ahead.
Am I arrogant to that I think I can grant you blanket permission? Well, it’s not arrogance, because you have always had permission. You just bought into the lie that you must wait for someone to give it to you.
Thank goodness for Gen Y and the kids being born today. Their norm is, “full speed ahead. Everything goes.” They renew my spirit and remind me of the unabashed idealism that inspired me to dream big and aim high.
You have permission to keep it up relentlessly.
But just in case you are already feeling the inertia to tone it down, let me remind you:
- You were born with permission to live, love, dream, and be happy. Do all without apology.
- There is no one else in the whole human race like you. You are unique, and you bring something special to everyone you meet. The fact you live adds to the glory of this universe. You possess the seeds of greatness.
- You were INPowered at birth to achieve your greatest good. Whatever you choose to do with your life, it is exactly as it should be. Be proud of who you are, where you are. Blossom where you are planted.
Permission granted to be